Paul L. Caron
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Saturday, July 3, 2021

NY Times: Trump Organization Is Charged With Running 15-Year Employee Tax Scheme

New York Times, Trump Organization Is Charged With Running 15-Year Employee Tax Scheme:

The Trump Organization, the real estate business that catapulted Donald J. Trump to tabloid fame, television riches and ultimately the White House, was charged Thursday with running a 15-year scheme to help its executives evade taxes by compensating them with fringe benefits that were hidden from the authorities.

The Manhattan district attorney’s office, which has been conducting the investigation alongside the New York attorney general, also accused a top executive, Allen H. Weisselberg, of avoiding taxes on $1.7 million in perks that should have been reported as income. Mr. Weisselberg, Mr. Trump’s long-serving and trusted chief financial officer, faced grand larceny, tax fraud and other charges.

“To put it bluntly, this was a sweeping and audacious illegal payments scheme,” Carey Dunne, general counsel for the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., said during an arraignment in State Supreme Court in Manhattan.

Mr. Dunne and the indictment described a deliberate effort by senior executives to underreport their income, in concert with the Trump Organization, by accepting secret perks that did not show up on tax documents. In the case of Mr. Weisselberg, the indictment said, the company kept his benefits off its books but recorded them in an internal spreadsheet.

The charges against the Trump Organization and Mr. Weisselberg — whom Mr. Trump once praised for doing “whatever was necessary to protect the bottom line” — ushered in a new phase of the district attorney’s inquiry into the business practices of Mr. Trump and his company. And while the indictment was narrowly focused on the tax scheme, the charges could lay the groundwork for the next steps in the wider investigation, which will focus on Mr. Trump.

The indictment took square aim at Mr. Weisselberg after months of increasing pressure on him to offer information that could help that broader inquiry. Prosecutors had subpoenaed Mr. Weisselberg’s personal tax returns and bank records, reviewed a raft of his financial dealings and questioned his ex-daughter-in-law — all part of an effort to gain his cooperation. That effort is expected to continue, and now Mr. Weisselberg is under even greater pressure: He could face more than a decade in prison if he is convicted.

Mr. Trump was not charged, and no other executives were accused by name of wrongdoing.

https://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2021/07/ny-times-trump-organization-is-charged-with-running-15-year-employee-tax-scheme.html

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